As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throwback Thursday - My Beautiful Birthday Boy

This is such a timely post, since my current baby is approaching her second birthday.  It's the first time ever that I have not had another baby either in my arms, or very close to entering the world.  In fact for now there are no new babies in the near future for us, and while I am enjoying a new stage in our family life, it doesn't come without longing for the precious days that belong to new babyhood.  I spent the day with friends who have a three-month-old baby yesterday and actually got to hold their sleeping baby for a long time, and it brought back a flood of memories of what that life is like.

As I soaked that little baby up I thanked God for the times I've been there before, prayed that maybe someday I will be again, and prayed for his dear little soul, and the souls of all the babies and children we love.  It is a precious gift to bring life into the world, and even when we feel like we're down in the trenches it is so, so fleeting.  Sometimes we don't realize what we have until it's gone - sometimes we just can't, because the daily grind is all-consuming.  And then sometimes, the Lord gives us moments of grace to encourage us, to build us up, and help us put one foot in front of the other and keep going.  My favourite thing to tell myself when I'm feeling overwhelmed is "this too shall pass".  And reading back over this post, I know how quickly it really does.  One minute you feel as though this is all your life will ever be.  And then then next, ten years have gone by and there are no little babies in the house.  It's a strange reality, but one that allows me to be grateful for the children I have, all the ages and stages they are at, and the friends and family surrounding us who keep saying "yes" to life and surrounding us with new babies to love on as ours grow.  Praise God for the gift of new life.  For me, there has been no greater window into the Father's love for me than through the eyes of a little child.


My Beautiful Birthday Boy
First Published September 9, 2008

The evening of Stephen's first birthday, I was suffering from a migraine. After we put the kids to bed, I fell asleep on the couch, but was surprised around 2 am to be awakened by Stephen's crying from the nursery. I was taken aback, because it has been several months since he woke in the middle of the night. But since I was tired and still sore from the migraine, I waited it out for a bit. After about ten minutes he went back to sleep, and I was thankful to resume my own. 

About a half hour later, the same thing happened. When he repeated this pattern for the fourth time,wake-cry for ten minutes-go back to sleep-wake again, I didn't leave him. His cry sounded like maybe he was in pain, and I was concerned because he doesn't usually wake through the night. When I went in to get him, he was laying on his belly, eyes still closed, obviously wanting to still be asleep, but crying his poor little heart out. I picked him up, brought him out to the couch with me, and did the only thing I really know how to do with a crying baby in the middle of the night - I nursed him. 

It had been at least a week since Stephen had nursed at all, and during his last few weeks of nursing he was down to very short feedings (2-3 minutes), so it was really uncomfortable. But I was grateful for this alone time with my birthday boy. I watched him closely as he nursed and settled down, eyes closed the whole time. After about ten minutes when his feeding had slowed but not stopped, I broke the latch (in laymen's terms, cut him off). I half expected him to start crying again, but he didn't. He opened his eyes wide, gazed at me with the most serious and intent eyes I've ever seen on him for about a minute, and then just closed his eyes and went right back to sleep. We laid together for another twenty minutes or so, and that's when the problem became apparent - he had gas. I could tell because every now and then his stomach would clench, and he would grimace his face. Whenever that happened I rubbed his back, kissed him on the cheek, and whispered "it's okay", and he would settle back to sleep. What a gift to be able to provide comfort to my baby. 

Laying there, watching my sleeping angel, I was struck by his beauty. I look at him all the time, but he's always busy and I'm always trying to keep up. I know he's really cute, but just laying there, still and calm in my arms, I could really see it - he is beautiful. It brought me back to the time when I first brought him home, and we did this several times a night. At the time I didn't truly appreciate it, being exhausted and sleep deprived. But he grew out of it in the blink of an eye, and I almost forgot about how special it is. I think God gave me this gift on his birthday, this time with him all by himself, so that I could see him the way He does. 

And while I am more than thankful for the twelve-hour sleep he usually takes, I am happy to have had my routine interrupted. I wish I could see the true beauty in each of my kids all the time, but the truth is I get so consumed in the day-to-day rush that it often slips by, unnoticed. So I'm grateful that God can reach through the craziness in my life and give me these moments of pure joy with my children. For the times I fall short, He makes up in ways I could not have even imagined. If you would have told me last week that on the evening of Stephen's birthday he would wake in the middle of the night, I would have grumbled and sighed, and probably tried to convince Jeff to get up for it. But when I see things through His eyes, I don't care what time of night it is.

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